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April 10, 2007
It might seem like the end of the road for West Indies, but it isn't. Not yet, anyway. West Indies only have two points from five games, but if they win their last two - against Bangladesh and England in Barbados - and if other results go their way, they might still sneak into the last four.
The best chance of that happening is for New Zealand, Australia and Sri Lanka, the three top sides in the tournament, to stay ahead of the pack, and force the other teams to battle it out for the final spot. Since South Africa already have six points, all West Indian supporters will now be hoping they lose to New Zealand and England in their last two matches.
England have three more games to go, and two wins - against Bangladesh and South Africa - and a defeat against West Indies will push them to six points as well. On the other hand, if Bangladesh beat England and Ireland before losing to West Indies, there will be a three-way tie between South Africa, West Indies and Bangladesh. Either way, the net run-rate will come into play and while West Indies' mark is currently languishing at -1.21, wins by handsome margins in their next two matches will lift it considerably.
For all these calculations to come into play, though, West Indies will have to win their last two matches. And for a side which has been in abysmal form with both bat and ball, it will hardly help that they will play their last two games at the Kensington Oval in Barbados, a venue where they have lost their past seven one-day internationals. Despite the hope, it isn't looking very good for Brian Lara and his team.
ESPNcricinfo looks at five reasons for England's failure to compete in Australia